Literature Review – Concerns of Trust and Privacy Within Social Networking Sites

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In today’s internet driven society we have witnessed the rapid growth of social network sites’ (SNS) as well as their integration into our everyday lives. SNS’s such as Facebook (FB), Twitter, Linkdin, Myspace and Bebo, now represent a fundamental shift in the way that we communicate (Butler, McCann , & Thomas , N.D) in our personal and working lives. In December 2011 FB alone reported to have 845 million active monthly users (Facebook, N.D). With the sharing nature of SNS’s and the sites’ control of posted information, concerns have developed regarding trust and privacy issues within SNS’s.

This report is a literature review of ten published journals and articles related to the topic of trust and privacy within the social media space, taken from a users perspective. We will begin by discussing the user’s responsibilities concerning their own online content, and go on to talk about the inconsistency and confusion of SNS’s privacy policies. We will then discuss the concept of user’s data being seen as currency, and the use of user’s private and personal information. Next we will discuss how privacy laws governing the internet space are out of touch with modern internet usage, and talk about the security risks involved with sharing personal information on SNS’s.

We will finish this report by offering recommendations to Government’s, SNS users and SNS owners as to ways in which the social media space can be made safer and more private for users. Essentially being that Governments need to update privacy policies concerning the online space, that SNS users must be aware of SNS’s privacy policies and take some responsibility for the information that they choose to post online, and finally that SNS’s have to take a more ethical and socially responsible approach to their use of user information.

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